This documentary is a portrait of two friends: Robert Markle, who comes from a family of Mohawk steel workers, and Gordon Rayner, his longtime art associate. Both are Toronto artists and art teachers who also share an interest in jazz. Rayner plays the drums, Markle the electric piano. This film is a study of their lifestyle, their mutual interests and their friendship.
In this revealing study of Norval Morrisseau, filmed as he works among the lakes and woodlands of his ancestors, we see a remarkable Indigenous artist who emerged from a life of obscurity in the North American bush to become one of Canada's most renowned painters. Morrisseau the man is much like his paintings: vital and passionate, torn between his Ojibway heritage and the influences of the white man's world. Jack Pollock, the Toronto art gallery owner who discovered Morrisseau's paintings in the early 1960s, comments on what makes them so unique.
The film centres on Arthur Shilling, an Ojibwa artist from the Rama Reserve on Lake Couchiching, Ontario. Shilling's artistic evolution is traced, as is his move to Toronto and the difficulties he encountered there. Also discussed is the illness that caused Shilling to re-evaluate his artistic goals. Interviews with the artist and others interested in his paintings are juxtaposed with examples of paintings.
When Masset, a Haida village on Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), held a potlatch, it seemed as if the past grandeur of the people had returned. This is a colourful recreation of Indigenous life that faded more than two generations ago when the great totems were toppled by the missionaries and the costly potlatch was forbidden by law. The film shows how one village lived again the old glory, with singing, dancing, feasting, and the raising of a towering totem as a lasting reminder of what once was.
This short documentary serves as a portrait of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, one of Canada's most important painters. We meet him at the Bisley Rifle Range in Surrey, England, where he's literally shooting the Indian Act in a performance piece called "An Indian Shooting the Indian Act." It's in protest of the ongoing effects of the Act's legislation on Indigenous people. We then follow him back to Canada, for interviews with the artist and a closer look at his work.
This feature-length documentary traces the journey of the Haisla people to reclaim the G'psgolox totem pole that went missing from their British Columbia village in 1929. The fate of the 19th century traditional mortuary pole remained unknown for over 60 years until it was discovered in a Stockholm museum where it is considered state property by the Swedish government.Director Gil Cardinal combines interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers to raise questions about ownership and the meaning of Indigenous objects held in museums.
This short documentary showcases the work Paul Kane painted in the Canadian northwest in the mid-1800s. Travelling overland west to the Pacific in the mid-1800s, Kane immortalized the area’s great Indigenous Peoples, Chiefs, ceremonies, war parties, buffalo hunts, rapids and waterfalls. In this film, his canvases are projected with lighting that brings to life every glowing detail.
This short film is part of a series entitled I Can Make Art and focuses on the work of Emily Carr. In this film, kids examine Carr's unusual world and the inspiration for her haunting landscapes. Drawing on this inspiration, they then attempt to create a giant forest mural on a window in their school. The series is comprised of six short films that take a kid's-eye view of a diverse group of Canadian visual artists.
Margaret Peterson is a retired painter, now living in Victoria, British Columbia, where this production was shot. The film explores the psyche of the painter through her paintings, through interviews, through an interpretive commentary by the director of the film, and the improvised riffs of a saxophone soloist. The film is a scrapbook of ideas, memories, opinions, interpretations and paintings that render the artist eventful rather than biographical. Beyond the Sun reveals a character very much attracted to primitive religion and a painter drawn to colour abstraction, both qualities typical of the 'beat' movement of the 1940s and 50s.
Set against a background of her paintings and the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, landscapes they depict, this short documentary is a portrait of the life and work of one of Canada's foremost primitive painters, Maud Lewis. Emerging from her youth crippled with arthritis, Lewis escaped into her painting at the age of 30. She had never seen a work of art and had never attended an art class but her paintings captured the simple strength, beauty and happiness of the world she saw - a world without shadows.
Paraskeva Clark, artist, socialist, feminist, is her own woman at her own cost. This film is a cameo of an irascible and oftentimes touching artist whose work has won her a place in exhibitions and private collections. Born in Russia in 1898, she eventually married a Canadian and moved to Toronto. Because her canvases reflect a strong social conscience, she had to struggle hard to earn a place in the nation's ultra-conservative galleries.
In this documentary short, two men paddle a canoe across a remote part of northern Lake Superior. Each stroke brings them closer to the culmination of an artistic and spiritual journey, one that begins with ancient rock paintings from their Anishinaabe ancestors.